A few of the items I have championed and worked with you and City Administration to move forward include:
In November 2018, I was actively involved in the One Calgary budget discussions. I advocated for a more transparent and fair process for residents of Ward 5 and all Calgarians. I was focused on getting more efficiencies and savings by reducing expenditures. At the end of the debate on the budget, I voted against the overall budget that will increase the tax rate for Calgary homeowners and businesses every year over the next 4 years. I do not believe we should be increasing the burden on taxpayers by increasing property taxes on those who are already struggling from the downturn in the economy.
Ward 5 is home to thousands of taxi drivers, who work tireless shifts, day and night, to make a living. I have always been a strong advocate for fairness, a level playing field and public safety within the entire taxi industry. In 2018, I brought forward changes to the taxi industry bylaws to advocate for a more level playing field for all in the industry as the taxi industry is a vital part of our Ward’s economy.
In July 2018, I brought forward a Motion Arising to Council related to the process of property tax exemptions that are allowed under current legislation. The subject of the Motion Arising concerned organizations that do not qualify under current legislation for property tax exemptions and require Council-approved tax cancellations. These tax cancellations approved by Council undermine the process set up under current legislation. In these times of financial hardship, and being fiscally prudent, we need to take a hard look at the money we are losing under this process to fully understand the long-term economic impacts of these one-off tax cancellations.
Our office has been very focused on finding the right solutions to alleviate current stresses related to major tax shortfalls. These are due to vacancies in the downtown having to be made up by small businesses throughout the city. We are also thinking long-term so that we do not find ourselves in this same situation in the future. We are currently looking into possible options that may change our property assessment methods, tax rates and/or property classes.
Multilingual Strategy for The City
On April 23, 2018, I brought forward a Notice of Motion to City Council to direct Administration to create a Multilingual Communication and Engagement Policy. The need for this Notice of Motion arose from the ever-changing demographics of Calgary. The work being completed for this Notice of Motion will help integrate new Calgarians into civic and Canadian life by better aligning existing resources to help newcomers understand City services as they are integrating into our community.